AI-DO 5 competition Update

AI-DO 5 Update

AI-DO 5 is in full swing and we want to bring you some updates: better graphics, more maps, faster and more reliable backend and an improved GUI to submit to challenges! 

Challenges visualization

We updated the visualization. Now the evaluation produces videos with your name and evaluation number (as below).

Challenges updates

We fixed some of the bugs in the simulator regarding the visualization (“phantom robots” popping in and out). 

We updated the maps in the challenges to have more variety in the road network; we put more grass and trees to make the maps more joyful!

We have updated the maps with more trees and grass

Faster and more reliable backend

The server was getting slow given the number of submissions, and sometime the service was unavailable. We have revamped the server code and added some backend capacity to be more fault-tolerant. It is now much faster!

Thanks so much to the participants that helped us debug this problem!

We overhauled the server code to make it much faster!

More evaluators

We brought online many more CPU and GPU evaluators. We now encourage you to submit more often as we have a lot more capacity.

We have many more evaluators now!

Submit to testing challenges

We also remind you that the challenges on the front page are the validation challenges, in which everybody can see the output. However what counts for winning are the testing challenges!  

To do that you can use dts challenges submit with the –challenges option

Or, you can use a new way using the website that we just implemented, described below.

Submitting to other challenges

Step 1: Go to your user page, by clicking “login” and then going to “My Submissions”.

Step 2: In this page you will find your submissions grouped by “component”. 

Click the component icon as in the figure.

Step 3: The page will contain some buttons that allow you to submit to other challenges that you didn’t submit to yet.

AI-DO technical updates

Here are some technical updates regarding the competition.

Thanks for all the bug reports via Github and Slack!

Changes to platform model in simulations

We have changed the purely kinematic model in the simulations with one that is more similar to the real robots obtained by system identification.

You can find the model here.


  • The inputs to the model are the two PWM signals to the wheels, left and right. (not [speed, omega] like last year)
  • The maximum velocity is ~2 m/s. The rise time is about 1 second.
  • There is a simulated delay of 100 ms.

We will slightly perturb the parameters of the model in the future to account for robot-robot variations, but this is not implemented yet.

All the submissions have been re-evaluated. You can see the difference between the two models

purely kinematic platform model more realistic platform model


The new model is much more smooth. Overall we expect that the new model makes the competition easier both in simulation, and obviously, in the transfer.

Infrastructure changes

  • We have update the Duckietown Shell and commands several times to fix a few reported bugs.
  • We have started with provisioning AWS cloud evaluators. There are still sporadic problems. You should know that if your job fails with the host-error code, the system thinks it is a problem of the evaluator and it will try on another evaluator.

Open issues

  • Some timeouts are a bit tight. Currently we allow 20 minutes like for NeurIPS, but this year we have much more realistic simulation and better visualization code that  take more time. If your submission fails after 20 minutes of evaluation, this is the reason.
  • We are still working on the glue code for running the submissions on the real robots. Should be a couple of days away.
  • Some of the changes to the models/protocol above are not in the docs yet.

Update to challenge LF, LFV evaluation code

We are going to roll out an improvement to the LF and LFV challenges competitions. This change fixes the following problems:
  • The robot will always start in the right lane - a legal position.
  • The evaluation and visualization code are going to be richer, with more statistics plotted (example).
  • The evaluation rulebook is slightly changed to address a couple of bugs of how the metrics were computed.
What is going to happen is the following:
  • The moment that we update the evaluation code, all existing submissions are set back to the state of "evaluation".
  • The evaluators will then re-evaluate all of them. This will take 2-3 hours.
During this time the leaderboards are going to be blank, and slowly will re-populate as the evaluators do their job. (To speed up evaluation of your submissions, you can run dts challenges evaluator.)

Updated Duckietown-challenges server fixes speed problems; updated “dts commands evaluate”

As we have more participants, the Duckietown Challenges Server started to feel slow. The reason: we were a bit lazy and some pages had O(n) implementations where O(1) was needed - loading all challenges/submissions/etc.

We also updated the "dts challenges evaluate" command to be more robust. Please continue to report bugs as this part is fragile by nature --- running containers that spawn other containers on the user's machines.

Kicking off the Duckietown Donation program with Cali, Colombia

Our first donation of a class kit goes to Cali, Colombia.

We’ve reached our Kickstarter goal! 

This is great news because it means that we can kick off our donation program, with our first donation of a Class Kit, to students at the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia.


Why a donation program?

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics are the sciences of the future, which is why we want everyone to have the chance to play and learn with Duckietown. While we design our robot platform to be as inexpensive as possible, we realize that cost might be an obstacle for educators or students with limited resources.

That is why we have designed a donation program where individuals, organizations or companies can make Duckietown truly accessible to all. Everybody can support STEM education by donating Duckiebots, or an entire Class Kit, to deserving individuals or educators. 

Our first recipient

Our first recipient is Prof. Victor Romero Cano, a professor from the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente in Cali, Colombia. 

Victor has a Ph.D. in field robotics obtained at the University of Sydney, Australia. He teaches two courses at his institution,  and supervises over 40 undergraduate students who are working towards their final research projects.



Victor will teach two classes using the Duckietown platform. The first is an introductory class to robotics, covering kinematic analysis, teleoperation, control and autonomous navigation for wheeled robots. The second class is more specifically about robotic perception, and will go in detail about mapping and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), covering lane detection as well as object detection, recognition and tracking.


Victor’s first Duckietown class starts in January 2019. We welcome him to the community and look forward to hearing about his journey!

You can help us sponsor more donations by sponsoring our Kickstarter.

¡Los Duckiebots están listos para conquistar el mundo!

Estimados amigos de Duckietown:

Estamos emocionados de presentarte grandes noticias sobre el proyecto Duckietown.

En los últimos años hemos sido ayudados por muchos entusiastas que han donado su tiempo y esfuerzo para ayudar a que el proyecto Duckietown grezca, ¡y así ha sido!

Duckietown empezó en el MIT el 2016 -hace casi dos años. A la fecha, las clases de Duckietown han sido impartidas en 10 paises con más de 700 alumnos.

Los últimos meses ha sido un periodo transformador para el proyecto, mientras nos preparamos para saltar al siguiente nivel.

La Fundación Duckietown

Hemos establecido la Fundación Duckietown, una entidad sin fines de lucro que liderará el proyecto Duckietown.

Nuestra misión: emocionar al mundo sobre la belleza, entretención, importancia y desafíos de la robótica e inteligencia artificial, a través de experiencias de aprendizaje tangibles e inclusivas.

La Fundación Duckietown servirá como coordinadora principal del desarrollo de Duckietown. Como una iniciativa sin fines de lucro, la fundación puede aceptar donaciones de individuos y compañías para promocionar entretenidos y acsequibles programas de aprendizaje en robótica alrededor del mundo.

Ve: Nuestra misión, programa de voluntarios, cómo ayudarnos.

Un Kickstarter


Estamos organizando una campaña Kickstarter para facilitar que la gente obtenga Duckiebots y Duckietowns.

Esto resuelve el obstáculo más grande para reproducir la experiencia Duckietown: la falta de una solución de “de un click” para adquirir el hardware.

Además, trabajar con miles de piezas nos permitirá reducir los costos y diseñar nuestras propias placas electrónicas.

Ve: Nuestro Kickstarter

Un programa de donaciones

Si bien hicimos todo lo posible para tener hardware accesible, en algunas partes del mundo el único precio realista es $0.

Por esta razón incluimos un programa “dona un Duckiebot” y “dona un curso” a través de Kickstarter.

Hazte amigo de Duckietown y apoya la educación en robótica e inteligencia artificial entretenida y de bajo costo costo a aún más escuelas e instituciones alrededor del mundo apoyando nuestra campaña en Kickstarter.

Para más detalles sobre donaciones, ve nuestro programa de donaciones.

Un nuevo sitio web…

Hemos diseñado un nuevo sitio web que sirve de mejor manera a los usuarios de la plataforma mediante foros de ayuda y acceso más organizado a los materiales de enseñanza.

Conoce: Los nuevos foros.

Conoce: El nuevo sitio de la “duck-umentación”

… y más de 700 nuevos sitios

Queremos que la gente comparta sus experiencias con Duckietown con otros duckie-entusiastas, estén lejos o cerca. Ahora esto es posible a través de los 700 sitios para comunidades, cada uno con un blog y foro.

Para más información, ve el post Lanzamiento de los sitios para comunidades

Las Olimpiadas AI Driving (AI-DO)

Adicionalmente a su rol como plataforma educativa, Duckietown es una útil herramienta de investigación.

Estamos felices de anunciar que Duckietown es la plataforma oficial para las Olimpiadas AI Driving (AI-DO), una competencia de aprendizaje automático que se realizará en NIPS 2018 e ICRA 2019, las dos conferencias de aprendizaje automático y robótica más grandes del mundo. Te desafiamos a resolver el test y unirte a la competencia.

Fara saber todo sobre AI-DO, revisa

¡Eso es todo por ahora! Gracias por escucharnos –

El proyecto Duckietown depende de una comunicad comprometida y activa, ¡y por eso queremos mantenerte involucrado/a! Apoya la educación e investigación en robótica – ¡Regístrate en nuestro sitio web! ¡Apoya nuestra campaña Kickstarter! ¡Participa en las Olimpiadas AI Driving!

Para cualquier información adicional o si te gustaría ayudarnos de otra forma, por favor revisa aquí cómo ayudarnos.

Duckiebots are ready to conquer the world!

Dear friends of Duckietown:

We are excited to bring you tremendous news about the Duckietown project.

In the past years we have had the support from many enthusiastic individuals who have donated their time and efforts to help the Duckietown project grow, and grown it has!

Duckietown started at MIT in 2016 – almost two years ago. Now Duckietown classes have been taught in 10 countries with more than 700 alumni.

The last months have been a transformative period for the project, as we prepare to jump to the next level in terms of scope and reach.

The Duckietown Foundation

We have established the Duckietown Foundation, a non-profit entity that will lead the Duckietown project.

Our mission: make the world excited about the beauty, the fun, the importance, and the challenges of robotics and artificial intelligence, through learning experiences that are tangible, accessible, and inclusive.

The Duckietown Foundation will serve as the coordination point for the development of Duckietown. As a non-profit, the foundation can accept donations from individuals and companies for the promotion of affordable and fun robotics learning programs around the world.

A Kickstarter


We are organizing a Kickstarter to make it easier for people to obtain Duckiebots and Duckietowns.

This solves the biggest hurdle so on reproducing the Duckietown experience: the the lack of a one-click solution to acquire the hardware.

Also, working with thousands of pieces allows to drive down the price and to design our own custom boards.

See: Our Kickstarter

A donation program

As much as we aim to have affordable hardware, in certain parts of the world the only realistic price is $0.

That is why we have included a donate-a-Duckiebot and donate-a-class program through the Kickstarter.

Become a friend of Duckietown and support the distribution of low-cost and playful AI and robotics education to even more schools across the globe by backing our Kickstarter campaign.

To learn more about how to support Duckietown, reach out to [email protected]

A new website…

We’ve designed a new website that better serves users of the platform by offering support forums and more organized access to the teaching materials.

See: The new forums.

See: New “duckumentation” site

… and 700 more new websites

We want people to share their Duckietown experiences with other Duckie-enthusiasts, whether they be far or near. That’s now possible through upwards of  700 “community” subsites, each with a blog and a forum.

For more information, see the post Communities sites launched.

The AI Driving Olympics

In addition to its role as an education platform, Duckietown is a useful research tool.

We are happy to announce that Duckietown is the official platform for the AI Driving Olympics, a machine learning competition to be held at NIPS 2018 and ICRA 2019, the two largest machine learning and robotics conferences in the world. We challenge you to put your coding to the test and join the competition.

That’s all for now! Thanks for listening –

The Duckietown project relies on an active and engaged community, which is why we want you to stay involved! Support robotics education and research –  Sign up on our website! Back our kickstarter! Compete in the AI Driving Olympics!


For any additional information of if you would like to help us in other ways, please see here for how to help us.